Radiohead have made a statement following the admission of negligence from engineer Domenic Cugliari, whose error led to a stage collapse at Radiohead’s 2012 show in Downsview Park, Toronto, killing drum technician Scott Johnson in the process. Radiohead call the ruling “eight years too late,” saying if the admission had been made earlier the issue could have been resolved “in a single day,” giving justice to Johnson and his family.
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“On 16th November 2020, the Discipline Committee of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) conducted a hearing to investigate Domenic Cugliari, the engineer responsible for the design and approval of the stage which collapsed at Downsview Park in Toronto, ahead of our scheduled show on 16th June 2012, killing Scott Johnson, our tour technician and friend,” Radiohead said in a statement on Instagram. “Mr. Cugliari has acknowledged in this hearing, his catalogue of errors and the negligence on his part that led to the stage collapse and Scott’s death. These admissions are 8 years too late. If the evidence now accepted by Mr. Cugliari had been agreed at the original court case brought against him, @livenation and the contractor Opted Staging, it would have been complete in one day, with a very different outcome and some justice would have been delivered. As it is, Mr. Culgliari has now retired and is seemingly beyond any legal recrimination. This is a sad day. Our thoughts and love are, as ever, with Scott’s parents, Ken and Sue Johnson, his family and friends, and our crew.”
In 2013, Live Nation had faced 13 counts of negligence following the stage collapse. The Ontario Ministry of Labour had alleged that the stage had not ensured safe for workers and employees while Live Nation faced up to $4 million in penalties.
The lawsuit had been stalled in 2017, with no official charges being given. The courts had planned to revisit the case after a year, and had also been looking into Cugliari at the time. During a performance in Toronto in 2018, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke addressed the 2012 stage collapse incident, saying he believed that those who had caused the accident had not been held accountable, then launched into Radiohead’s song “Karma Police.”
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat